Tuesday, May 22, 2012
So we went here and we went there and we decided on a real beauty of a bike that will probably last him a couple of years at least, red and black with fat tires, a real sturdy sharp looking piece of work. We bought it from a shop close to our place and when we decided that was the one he and I walked over to pick it up, he carrying his helmet so he could ride it home.
I paid the man and we got out into the sun and he hopped up and we headed down the Danforth until we could dodge down a little sidestreet. It soon became apparent that we had a few problems. The boy has not been on a bike since the fall and this bike was bigger and heavier than what he was used to. It wasn't too big for him but it was a different feel and he was struggling a bit.
With all that said though he was getting the hang of it as we got close to our house. A few minor mishaps but nothing awful. We were nearing the neighbourhood park and I told him to take a turn nice and easy and he did but then he, well, he went off course a bit.
Brakes, I said, as he did not turn but instead went straight onto the grassy boulevard.
Brakes! I said with a little more urgency as he headed for the curb.
BRAKES! I said as he went over the curb towards the parked pickup truck.
Now everyone knows my little guy is a smart little dude. Smart is probably an understatement. He's brilliant. And he's calm. And he's reasonable. And so this should have been a walk in the park, right. Hit the brakes, son, piece of cake.
Instead he flung his arms and legs out, shrieked and ran into the back of the truck.
He was totally fine, he was barely even moving when he jumped the curb.. He's a bit of a sook, like most little dudes are but he didn't even shed a tear. And the brand new bike didn't even have a scratch.
We went to the park and I had him ride his brand new bike around for an hour and yeah we practiced the whole braking thing. Get that old muscle memory tuned up a bit.
Oh yeah as an aside when I put him to bed at the end of the long weekend I asked him what he liked best about his long weekend and his answer?
A tie between getting his new bike and going out to get ice cream.
As I watch ex Oiler after ex Oiler score goals or set up goals or make an impact on this Kings/Coyotes series my thoughts turn to the annual rite of summer for Oiler fans, the first round pick, actually the first overall for the third year running. And then of course July 1st and the UFA frenzy.
What do the Oilers need? Same as they always need. More good players. They've added a few through the draft and adding Smyth and retaining Hemsky were steps in the right direction. And while I did not like moving Gilbert at least Schultz is quality as well.
But lets be honest folks, they need help and they need it everywhere. They need forwards and D and goaltending and they need it both on the big team and in terms of prospects. I saw OKC play Sunday and let me say that after that game I do feel a lot better about some of their youngsters. A farm club's success often means little but while there are a ton of vets on the Barons the guys who stood out up front were mostly kids - Paajarvi, Hartikainen, Lander, Pitlick and even tweeners like Cornet and Vandevelde. The first four were all impressive and Pitlick was excellent, he has made big strides since I saw him in January. Oh yeah also playing was Hamilton. A long way to go but definitely noticed him as well.
But for that good news (and I will have a more detailed report on it later this week I hope) the fact remains that the Oilers are shitty. What would I do to alleviate this?
1/ Draft Yakupov. EVERYBODY says this guy is the best guy in the draft. Yes if the scouts like someone else better then take him but when everybody says Yakupov is the guy then I can't see MacGregor seeing something else really. The only way you trade him is if a guy like OEL or Pietrangelo or Doughty is available. And they aren't. You do not trade him for a project or a maybe. If you do then you are a stupid idiot.
2/ Look for bargains in the UFA bin. Dvorak/Pisani/Stoll types. Good players. Don't give a thug or some flash in the pan big bucks or term. Just look for those good solid guys and sign one or two or three. Whatever you need.
3/ Look to teams in financial trouble or looking to shed salary so they can make a UFA splash or sign their own FAs. That is what killed me about the Gilbert deal. Keep Gilbert and then trade a pick or prospect to a club looking to dump salary. Get a guy with a year or two left on his deal that way. Now you have Gilbert plus that guy. Christ there are enough teams with financial issues, never mind the guys who will be after Parise or Nash.
Add good players. Add as many as you can. Be smart about it, the club is still growing and you want to make sure that you have a spot or two available for up and coming kids but add what you can.
Keep Smyth. Go Hall/Paajarvi/Smyth/Hartikainen on LW.
Either trade Gagner for a Dman and pick up another C or stick with him for another year. Ted/Gagner/Horcoff/Belanger
RW is beautiful. Eberle/Hemsky/Yakupov/Jones
Add a goalie to share duties with Dubnyk.
Shuffle Sutton down to the 7th D spot. Go with a D by committee with Whitney on the third pair if he has no setbacks this summer. Which means you add two Dmen. And veteran solid guys. Not bottom sixers. Actual quality NHL defenders like Mitchell, Volchenkov, Scuderi. Guys like that. So your D is Smid/Petry/Schultz/Whitney/newguy/newguy/Sutton
That's what I'd do.
Unfortunately everytime I think of Tambo approaching the draft I think of him realizing that this is probably it and somewhere in those dull eyes, a flicker of an idea. The knives are out and nothing is sticking to Lowe, as usual. The way Renney was treated has people up in arms (watching TSN reporters Sunday morning, they roasted Tambo for Renney and then for Quinn as well lol) and Tambo is now on the clock (I think Farber said it was 'about time' when someone said that Tambo was in the firing line now).
Buddy will never get another GM job unless he turns it around and the problem is he is poor at what he does and on top of that is absolutely unimaginative. What this means is that instead of staying the course and doing what is right he is probably going to throw ridiculous money and term at a bunch of bums AND trade Yakupov for Luke Schenn and a guy who is not even the consensus top dman available.
He's going to throw his arms and legs out and shriek as he takes us back into the ditch, the stupid bastard.
Posted by Black Dog at 11:55 PM